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UK – Labour leader wants ban on staffing firms using foreign workers

22 June 2012

The UK’s Labour Leader Ed Miliband will say at a speech today that immigration policies by the previous Labour Government were a mistake, allowing cheap foreign labour to enter the country. He will also announce his intentions to ban recruitment agencies which only use workers from abroad at the expense of local people.

In 2004, the UK allowed newly appointed EU states, including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, to enter its jobs market without restrictions - one of the few EU countries to do so. Then the Labour Government expected a relatively low number of migrant workers but in 2010 net migration from the EU and other countries reached an unexpected 252,000. 

In a speech addressed to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Mr Miliband will say that “It was a mistake not to impose transitional controls on accession from Eastern European countries. We severely underestimated the number of people who would come here. We were dazzled by globalisation and too sanguine about its price.”

Amongst the measures he will suggest to boost employment amongst British workers prominently hangs his plan to ban employment agencies from using only foreign workers while he also wants to give British jobseeker better training opportunities.

The Guardian highlighted yesterday that many staffing firms in the UK complain about a poor work ethic amongst British workers which is why they often prefer to use “hardworking” employees from abroad.

One owner of a recruitment agency told the paper “I don't take the British applications very seriously, to be honest. Before I recruited foreign workers I only used to recruit English people. Then, people used to tell me so many lies, all the time, about why they didn't want to go to work. Every day at 6am my phone would be ringing with company bosses screaming at me because no staff were there.”

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